Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day Treasure Hunt

Happy Mother's Day! My family is lucky enough to all live within a block of each other, so we've been able to see each other during the COVID-19 quarantine. We regularly do walks in my neighborhood, where we can stay six feet apart.

For Mother's Day, Mer and I planned a treasure hunt throughout the neighborhood! We told Mom to meet at my house at 2 p.m., and handed her the first clue.

There is only one marine animal that we know of on Briarwood
Find a clue there to get started on a hunt through the ‘hood

Now that you’ve found your first clue,
let Lucy lead you to clue #2

Lucy loves to sniff the mulch on this particular section of the street, and she did lead Mom right to the clue! Dad helped find it.

Only a fairy could fit through this door
Find a clue there and then you’ll find more

The fairy house at Abby's house!

You can hook up a fire hose to this tap,
But you gotta find it yourself, we’re not giving you a map

A grand driveway entrance made of brick
Is where you’ll find our next clue trick

Onward! Now you must push
To find orange flagging tied to a bush

What’s this? Irises ready to bloom
Find a clue there then zoom zoom zoom

Underneath here you’ll have to look,
The only place on the street to borrow a book

When you find the next clue you won’t be failing
To look underneath a public railing

Down on the “low side” you’ll see
A place to live if you were a chickadee

This thing that looks like a lollipop
Actually tells your car just where to stop

When we moved to Athens I didn't understand
Why there seemed to be so many Tigers fans
Then I found out that this special D
Was for Dispatch, not baseball, you see

This is it!
Your final clue
Head to Mer’s house,
we’ll show you what to do

Little Kate made a lovely finish line sign!

Mer and I decorated the yard, and had disposable gloves and hand sanitizer available! And gift for mom!

Felix was excited to watch Mom open her gift. A weather station!

Though we've seen each other throughout the quarantine, this Mother's Day gathering was the first time we actually got to relax and enjoy each other's company. We had beers! Mer grilled sausages and served them very safely with gloves on.

Felix supervised my sausage eating.

We also had individual bags of chips! No sharing.

Family time!

Saturday, May 02, 2020

Cooking Club Quarantine: Crab Ravioli

Due to the COVID-19 social distancing measures, cooking club hasn't met since February!! I was supposed to be the host for our March dinner, but we canceled that gathering, obviously. We did meet on Zoom for a drink together that evening.

Well, finally we decided we have had enough! We simply had to come up with a way to have cooking club, despite the coronavirus quarantine situation. We decided to choose a recipe that we would all cook variations of, and then get together and compare and enjoy our dishes online!

We chose crab ravioli as the base recipe, mmm. Everyone was encouraged to put their own twists and sauces on it. We also sent each other progress photos throughout the afternoon. Here's Yumi's dough! She doesn't own a pasta maker, so she rolled it out by hand. Impressive!

Summer made a black pepper pasta. YUM!

Valerie's fresh pasta, all rolled out.

Emily's dough resting!

Yumi's dough, about ready for fillings.

Nancy had to work late on Saturday, so she resorted to wonton wrappers. Mmm, looks like Nancy's is going to be lemony!

Emily fashioned herself a drying rack!

Valerie also made a pile of fresh angel hair pasta. LOOK at that!!! It looks amazing!

Sooner or later, wine was poured. Cheers!

I also took the easy way out with wonton wrappers. I don't have a pasta machine, and was intimidated by rolling dough out by hand. Also, I've never made wonton ravioli before, and was curious to try it! With my extra time, I enjoyed the beautiful weather outside and played some cornhole with Ben.

Summer's filling! Crab, mint, mascarpone, parmesan.

Valerie's filling! Sweet red pepper, onion, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and crushed fennel seeds.

Yumi's ravioli sauce featured  chestnut mushrooms and oyster mushrooms from the farmer's market!

Nancy's cooking club quarantine station.

Emily surprised us all with a cocktail gift, dropped on our doorsteps! Her twist on a negroni, it was delicious. Cheers! We all enjoyed our cocktails together on Zoom.

It was really really really great to see everybody's faces and enjoy a meal together.

Valerie's ravioli were stuffed with crab, sweet red pepper, onion, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, and crushed fennel seeds.

The sauce contained onion, garlic, butter, flour, heavy cream, dry white wine, and parmesan cheese. YUM!!

Mine were crab and shrimp ravioli with a spicy red pepper cream sauce. I thought the wonton wrappers turned out great, and were fun and easy to use! YUM!!

Summer made crab and mint stuffed black pepper ravioli in lemon butter. YUM!!

Emily made crabmeat, ricotta, creme fraiche and sauteed onion ravioli, with a buttery, garlicky lemon cream sauce! YUM!!

Yumi's fillings were ricotta, goat cheese, lemon zest, crab, and the sauce had chestnut mushrooms & yellow oyster mushrooms, heavy cream, ramps, and white wine. YUM!!

Nancy's ravioli were filled with crab, ricotta, and lemon zest, and they were sauced with a brown butter lemon sauce. YUM!!

Summer was also a sneaky surpriser, and left us each a little lemon tart from Z Bakery!

It certainly wasn't the same as spending the evening together enjoying each other's dishes, but it was really fun and delicious! Mostly it was really special to spend the night together as cooking club! Till next time.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Easter Weekend Treasure Hunt Adventure at Stroud's

This morning, Ben and I went on a hike at the Blackhaw Accessibility Trail at Stroud's Run. During our walk, Ben noticed a photo ID laying in the water, near the mouth of a culvert. We brought it home, and I googled the person on the ID. It turns out he's a professor at Ohio University! I emailed him and said I'd be happy to pop his ID in the mail.

He wrote back and said that he had lost his wallet at Stroud's over a week ago, and despite going back several times and scouring the area, he was unable to find it. He asked if I could give him a sense of where I found the ID, so he could go back and look in that area. Since I live close to Stroud's, I figured it would be easier to just head back there and take some photos of the area to send him!

I marked an "X" on the trail at the spot with the culvert.

And shared several photos to show where it was on the trail.

This time, I wore my rubber boots, and actually hopped down into the water to peek in the culvert.

And right away, I found some more cards! An insurance card, a credit card, and a Bagel Street Deli punch card. I grabbed those out of the water.

Then I used my camera to zoom in further down the tunnel to see if I could see any other treasures. There were definitely more cards back in there! Although I was tempted to continue the exciting hunt and try to retrieve the cards, I decided that would be way too wet and muddy. I emailed these photos to the professor.

He went to the culvert later that evening, and his wife crawled in the tunnel and retrieved several more cards, including his driver's license! How exciting! I left the cards that I found in my mailbox for him to pick up (social distancing).

He sent me this email at the end of the ordeal:

"Thank you so very much for all your kindness in helping me retrieve my wallet items, and in a time of a pandemic no less.

I had actually lost hope of ever finding it, but your act of kindness has renewed my sense of hope on a more important scale."

I think it's very important for us all to maintain hope these days! I'm glad I was able to help.